Arctic Ice Nears Historic Low

Ice area last year tied 2007 for lowest since measuring begin in 1979

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 7, 2011 4:03 AM CDT | Updated Sep 7, 2011 6:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – A set of dubious honors for the volume of ice covering the Arctic: It hit a record low in 2010, according to researchers, breaking the 2007 record—and those same scientists say this year may be a record-breaking one, too, reports the Alaska Dispatch. Since researchers began measuring Arctic ice by satellite in 1979, it has steadily shrunk, down some 30% over the past 32 years. In 2007, the Arctic Sea ice area hit a low of 4.13 million square kilometers; with two weeks remaining in this year's melt season, the area stands at 4.6 million square kilometers, reports Reuters.

"Given all the uncertainties and margins for error, it’s tough to declare a single year a 'record,'" wrote the team in their paper. "However, the 2010 September ice volume anomaly did in fact exceed the previous 2007 minimum by a large enough margin to declare it a new record." The 2007 low resulted from driving winds that pushed ice against the Greenland coast and high pressure that removed clouds and allowed more sun to melt the ice, reports the Independent. This year, the ice is believed to be more dispersed, but its total area will approach that recorded in 2007.

The ice covering the Arctic has tied for least ever, according to climate researchers.
The ice covering the Arctic has tied for least ever, according to climate researchers.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
A polar bear rests with her cubs on the pack ice in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska.
A polar bear rests with her cubs on the pack ice in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska.   (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service, Steve Amstrup, File)
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